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!84             A SEARCH IN  SECRET EGYPT
involving the spiritual worlds—a feat beyond the power of any modern hypnotist to achieve.
I had watched every kind of hypnotic phenomena performed in Eastern and Western countries, and I knew that, marvellous as some of them undoubtedly were, they belonged to a lower order. They were not sacred processes. They were of scientific interest but not of deeper spiritual value. Though they carried one out of the gross depths of materialism by proving the existence of mysterious subconscious forces in man's being, they could not carry one upwards into conscious discovery of the soul as a living, immortal and independent thing,
I had been able to reconstruct, both from my own experience within the Pyramid and from the evidences of wall carvings in the temples, the mysterious drama of the innermost secret rite of Osiris. That august rite was nothing more or less than a process which combined hypnotic, magical and spiritual forces in an attempt to detach the candidate's soul from the heavy bondage of his fleshly body for a few hours, and sometimes for a lew days, that he might ever after live with the memory of this epoch-making experience and conduct himself accordingly. The survival of the soul after death, accepted by most men through faith in their religion, he was thenceforth able to accept, strengthened in his conviction by the evidence of personal knowledge.
What this meant to him could only be appreciated by those who underwent a similar experience. Even in modern times some men have involuntarily, and unexpectedly, passed through a part of this experience. I know of one case, an ex-Air Force officer, who was put under an anaesthetic for a surgical operation during the war. . The drug had a curious effect. It made him quite unconscious of any pain in his body, yet it did not send him to sleep. He found himself, instead, hovering in the air over the operating table and watched the whole process as calmly as he might have watched an operation upon someone else's body! The experience made an extraordinary change in his character; for, he turned from a materialist into a believer in the existence of the soul, and henceforth lived with a new hope and purpose.
Who were these hierophants, whose power could bring about in a man such an amazing transformation?
These venerable custodians of a higher learning were perforce always few in number. They embraced at one time